Students ‘plugging research funding gap through tuition fees’

BT.com reports that students are subsidising university research through their tuition fees, according to a new report. Research at UK universities is significantly under-funded with latest figures showing a £3.3 billion deficit, it says.

This hole is being plugged by money for teaching, particularly fees from international students, according to the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) study. On average, over the course of their degree, each non-EU international student contributes more than £8,000 to UK research, it calculates.

It urges Chancellor Philip Hammond to find an extra £1 billion for research in his Budget later this month.

The study says official figures show that in 2014/15, there was a deficit of almost £3.3 billion across UK higher education, which has been “traditionally filled from non-publicly funded teaching surpluses”, money gained from international students, as well as activities such as consultancy work.

HEPI director Nick Hillman told the Press Association: “My concern is that tuition fees are under the spotlight, students want to know where their fees are going, no-one wants to increase fees, are these cross-subsidies sustainable? If they are, there is still a massive shortfall in research funding.”

Report author Vicky Olive said: “The cross-subsidies from teaching to research are a float keeping UK universities world-class but they are under threat like never before.

“The Government has frozen fees for home students, students are demanding to know more about where their money goes and international student numbers are perpetually under threat.”

Read more Students ‘plugging research funding gap through tuition fees’

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